Pennsylvania plant to process Marcellus gas

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Oct. 22 -- MarkWest Energy Partners LP has started up a 30 MMcfd refrigeration plant southwest of Pittsburgh to process natural gas from the Devonian Marcellus shale.

MarkWest, meanwhile, is installing a 30 MMcfd cryogenic gas processing plant next to the refrigeration unit near Houston in Chartiers Township in Washington County for startup in the first quarter of 2009 and plans to build a 120 MMcfd cryogenic plant with a depropanizer by late 2009. It also is evaluating the addition of a fractionator.

The refrigeration plant represents Pennsylvania's first large-scale gas processing infrastructure, said Mark West and Marcellus gas producer Range Resources Corp., Fort Worth.

MarkWest is investing $200 million in facilities to gather and process gas that Range Resources is extracting from the Marcellus, and Range has invested more than $700 million in leases, drilling, and facilities in the past 4 years.

The refrigeration plant "signals the beginning of material natural gas production from the Marcellus shale formation," Range Resources said. The company plans to be producing 30 MMcfd by yearend 2008 and 80-100 MMcfd by yearend 2009.

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